If you’re looking to enter the sales industry, your first task will be effectively “selling yourself” in your resume.
After all, if you can’t submit a convincing pitch or create an effective sales document, employers probably won’t take you seriously for an entry level sales job.
Lidia Cords, HR and Talent Acquisition Manager at Collective Point of Sale Solutions in Toronto, offers some tips and best practices on how to ensure you make that sale:
Sales resume tip #1
Have an objective
Including a relevant objective confirms to a potential employer that you know which job you’re applying to and have made efforts to personalize your resume for that position. You can even mention the name of your desired role in the objective.
That being said, having no objective is better than having a general objective. “So often objectives don’t make sense to the role you’re applying to and you can lose credibility that way,” Lidia warns.
Sales resume tip #2
Be relevant and specific
“The way you showcase your experience is what’s going to set you apart,” Lidia says. For example, imagine two resumes with the same experience at a fast food restaurant. If one candidate lists very simply what their role was, while the other elaborates that they often worked the drive-thru and consistently beat the time allotted for each order, it’s easy to see which resume an employer is going to be more drawn to.
Sales jobs are often about meeting goals and achieving targets, whether that’s in terms of dollars and cents, contacts made, meetings booked or other metrics, so it’s essential that you find ways to demonstrate that you are results-oriented in your resume.
Furthermore, not all students and new grads have a lot of direct sales experience, but there are many ways you can tap into other experiences you’ve had and relate them to sales.
You might have worked for your school’s alumni association conducting cold calls to potential donors, for example. This would allow you to showcase your ability to communicate and negotiate with people, and express your experience making outbound calls. “This is a skill you really want to highlight for a sales job,” Lidia says. “You really want to pull out the relevant skills that make sense for the job you’re applying to.”
Sales resume tip #3
The sales industry, like any field, requires candidates with particular strengths. Use words and phrases such as:
- hard working
Then explain why these words describe you using real examples. For example, including your extra-curricular experience on a sports team will demonstrate your competitiveness. Writing about your leadership role on a committee at school shows your hard-working nature.
“Keywords are important,” Lidia says. “Really review the job that you’re applying for and emphasize their criteria on your resume.”
Sales resume tip #4
Be eye-catching and error free
Every recruiter is going to have a personal preference as to what really catches their eye, but something that all hold as absolutely vital is a resume that is easy to read. “If a resume is hard to read and you can’t see those keywords quickly, you might get bypassed,” Lidia says.
Lidia also emphasizes the importance of ensuring you have zero mistakes in the spelling and grammar department.
Another tip? Present your resume in a PDF file rather than a Word document (unless otherwise specified, of course – pay close attention to what the employer is requesting). When an employer opens up your resume on a Word document, they’re going to be presented with all of those oh-so-eye-appealing red underlines. Even if you have nothing spelled wrong, the name of a company or even your own name is bound to get noticed by the spell checker. “This brings attention to those things rather than your experiences and what is actually important,” Lidia says.
More quick tips for sales resumes
There are some little things that one might not even think about when submitting a resume, but when you’re reviewing an endless pile these things start to get noticed:
- Ensure your contact information is correct.
- If you live outside of the city in which you are applying to, make sure you say in your cover letter that you are relocating.
- If you are continuing your education and list this on your resume, again use your cover letter to explain your status. Many employers may assume you are a full-time student, so if you’re applying to a full-time job this might cause your resume to get passed on. A quick note in your cover letter that you are “taking a night class in [area of study]” should clear things up.
Photo credit: ssteacher